It’s July. It’s hot – even in Scotland. According to the Metro, that well-respected source of information, Britain could soon be facing a drought. A hosepipe-banning, bath-sharing drought. While I’m pretty sure that everyone’s favourite public transport rag is wildly exaggerating the matter, I can’t help but think that - in relation to my writing - some pathetic fallacy is going on here.
About a month and a half ago, I promised myself I would complete the
first draft of my novel by 1st July. Considering that the thing is still
mouldering away, neglected and unloved, on my hard drive, I would say
that was a fail.
I could make excuses. I could cite all the hours I have worked recently
(at the Edinburgh Book Festival Box Office, for just one more
afternoon now). I could offer my crazed to-do lists for my forthcoming
teaching stint in New York as proof of my industry (although however I
dress that one up, going to New York always just sounds jammy). I could
wring my hands about all the social, familial, televisual commitments I
have had of late. But really, enough. There are no excuses.
Let us review the recent pledges I have made and their glorious outcomes:
I will finish the first draft of my novel by July – fail.
I will enter the Bridport Prize, as previously mentioned on this blog, this year – fail.
I will enter other short story competitions – fail.
In short - one epic fail.
How to pull myself from this rut? I enjoy writing. I enjoy telling
stories. I sometimes think that I don’t even hate my novel that much,
although those unsettling feelings usually pass. Perhaps New York will
help. Maybe time away, when I’m not supposed to write will, perversely,
make me want to start scribbling again. Or maybe I should take time off
after the summer, lock myself in the flat, and not come out until I’ve
finished the damn thing, even if it means being so poor and wretched
that I’ll eat nothing but Riveta and talk to nobody but the woodlouse
that has taken up in the bathroom.
There is also always the rain dance option. I could choreograph some
sort of inspiration-seeking jig. However, considering the quality of my
bog-standard boozy party dancing, this idea should be filed under ‘Last